The whole world is talking about the release of nude celebrity (women)’s photos and everyone has a different take on it. In the Atlantic article at the link, Jessica Valenti spins it (accurately) as violation and discusses it in terms of consent. In California, Representative Jackie Speier moves to the context of revenge porn, and is sponsoring Federal legislation against the practice (eleven states have already adopted anti-revenge-porn legislation). I’ve also seen conversations about the NSA and privacy, and how that linkage is not generally being made.
Really, it all comes down to one thing: our bodies are not appropriately used as entertainment, they are not appropriately used as currency, and they are not appropriately used as vengeance. Until we can develop a culture in which all bodies, and especially women’s bodies, are appropriately used, be very thoughtful about who has custody of your nude photographs, and how you trust the people who have them.
Hijabs, like all covering choices, raise the question of “what’s underneath?” In this three-year-old photo essay, Francisco Guerrero spoke to and photographed several Malaysian Muslim women who wear the hijab some but not all of the time.
“What most of these women wanted to express is that wearing the Hijab was mostly their personal choice and this would vary depending on the social context. One of the women explained it by comparing it to wearing one’s ‘Sunday best’ when going to church of more formal family occasions.”
Here’s another years-old essay, this one by renowned historian Tony Judt. Judt died in 2010, not long after it was published. It’s as evocative a description of severe immobility disabilities as you are ever likely to find.
With extraordinary effort I can move my right hand a little and can adduct my left arm some six inches across my chest. My legs, although they will lock when upright long enough to allow a nurse to transfer me from one chair to another, cannot bear my weight and only one of them has any autonomous movement left in it. Thus when legs or arms are set in a given position, there they remain until someone moves them for me. …
During the day I can at least request a scratch, an adjustment, a drink, or simply a gratuitous re-placement of my limbs—since enforced stillness for hours on end is not only physically uncomfortable but psychologically close to intolerable. It is not as though you lose the desire to stretch, to bend, to stand or lie or run or even exercise. But when the urge comes over you there is nothing—nothing—that you can do except seek some tiny substitute or else find a way to suppress the thought and the accompanying muscle memory.
But then comes the night. …
I am then covered, my hands placed outside the blanket to afford me the illusion of mobility but wrapped nonetheless since—like the rest of me—they now suffer from a permanent sensation of cold. I am offered a final scratch on any of a dozen itchy spots from hairline to toe … and there I lie: trussed, myopic, and motionless like a modern-day mummy, alone in my corporeal prison, accompanied for the rest of the night only by my thoughts.
Fashion in the discount stores makes a whole lot of sense … if it comes in your size. Plus-size fashion blogger Chastity Garner Valentine is starting a boycott of Target’s new Altuzarra line:
For so long, I loved you. I always went above and beyond in our relationship. I’ll visit you to get a couple of items and more than a couple hundred dollars later and a cart full of products, I have left giving you way more than I ever planned to. No matter how much I give, you never seem to appreciate me. All I want is the clothing you offer all your other regular sized customers, but you always leave me out. With that being said, I have to end this relationship. It’s you, not me and for my own well-being and my self dignity I have to sever ties between us.
This may seem a little dramatic, but the recent release of the photos of Altuzarra for Target collection has me feeling slighted. … Literally 50 pieces of beautiful (and I mean beautiful) affordable clothing and none of it will be remotely close to the size that I wear. The collection consists of deeps hues of burgundy, fabulous snakeskin prints, and fall worthy silk-like maxi dresses…enough to make any fashion lover lust. My heart sinks. You have once again made me feel like a second-class customer and because of that I’m going to have to discontinue my relationship with you altogether.
You go, Chastity!
Did you know that men’s and women’s bathing suits used to cover just about exactly the same amount of skin?
… the fact that the man in the ad above is covering his chest is evidence that there is a possible world in which men do so. I can see men in bikinis. Likewise, women go topless on some beaches and in some countries and it can’t be any more ridiculous for them to swim in baggy knee-length shorts than it is for men to do so.
My instant reaction to this nasty story was “Well, this will make the news when she commits suicide.” I hope I’m too cynical in this case.
A New Jersey middle school is refusing to allow 13-year-old Rachel Pepe to return to her school unless she dresses and identifies as a boy.
Actually, I hope her family finds a way to get her out of that school and into someplace where she can find some respect. Like yesterday would be good.
I enjoyed this essay by Dave Smeds about the beauty of karate.
As a muse, competition is flawed. It requires a person to measure his or her skill using an external gauge. That has always felt false to me. If I do well in a session of jiyu kumite (freestyle sparring), is it because I was great, or was it because my opponent’s performance sucked? Do I deserve credit in those instances when I just happened to be the player who was bigger, stronger, faster, or younger? If I do poorly, is it because I slipped up and used lousy technique, or was I simply matched up against a stronger, faster, younger opponent against whom I didn’t really have a chance?
If I’d hadn’t found a way to measure my progress that I could believe in, a way that felt real to me, I would’ve quit.
Beauty was what hooked me.
We all know that computers are transformative tools, and here’s an especially dramatic example.
Nobumichi Asai (leading a team of high-tech folks) used projection mapping and real-time face tracking to transform and retransform this model’s face. I think the work is fascinating, and I cannot help but note the named artist/scientist and the un-named model. I hope she was well paid, and that she enjoyed the process.
Sources: Feministing, io9, and Sociological Images, plus assorted other blogs I read.